|Tor books, 2003|
Humans is the middle book in a trilogy by Robert Sawyer, the others being Hominids and Hybrids. It tells the story of a parallel world to Earth, where Homo Sapiens was the human species to die out and the Neanderthals went on to become the dominant, technically advanced, species. In the first book, which I haven't read, an accident with an experimental machine on the Neanderthal world led to a Neanderthal scientist, Ponter Boddit, becoming stranded on our version of Earth.
In Humans, Ponter reopens the portal and revisits the friends he made in the first book. He also rekindles a friendship with Mary Vaughan which becomes a romance.
This is very much a hard sci-fi book. It spends a lot of time exploring the differences between the two worlds, and the Neanderthal world was fascinating. A world where you live apart from the men for most of the month then get together for a few days of 'Two Become One'. Hmm, I could live with it, as long as somebody was around to do the heavy lifting.
I found it a bit sermonising in places, and although I saw it described as a sci-fi romance in one amazon review, I don't think it was. The romance was more of a hook to hang any number of scientific and social observations on than what a romance reader would recognise as a romance.
Not a page-turner, but interesting, and aspects of the Neanderthal society have stayed with me and given me a certain amount of food for thought. Of course, that might just be the prospect of not having a husband under my feet for most of the month then the fun of squashing a month's worth of happies into a few days. On second thoughts, sons live with their fathers. Cancel that plan. I couldn't live without my Boy, even if he does borrow my computer when I want to write.
Hey, I was actually on theme this month. Robert Sawyer was a 'new to me' author. How 'bout that, go me! On to April.